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Does having a pet affect my property insurance?

By SmartCoverage Team on June 12th, 2018

Pets are part of the family for many people, and the idea of not having the fluffiest member of the family around is unthinkable for some people. However, did you know your pet could be costing you for more than just vet bills? Turns out, having a pet can actually impact how much you spend on your property insurance.

How does having a pet affect home insurance?

You might have the cutest furry friend on the planet, but no matter how adorable they are, your insurer has to view them objectively. Insurers base how much they charge for your premium on the potential risk involved-and sadly your pet isn’t immune to this.

While you might know that insurers look at risks such as having a swimming pool or whether you live in a flood zone, you may not realise that they will also eye up that exotic pet of yours with caution.

For the most part, when it comes to home insurance increases, they tend to be related to dogs. In North America,  4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year, with about 900,000 of these requiring medical treatment. Unfortunately, even the most well-behaved pup can find themselves in an aggressive situation if they feel threatened or scared. If you do find yourself in this situation, you may end up with some big medical bills and even legal bills in a worst case scenario. Luckily, if you have  decent home insurance policy in place, your insurer will pay out and help cover the costs.

Are some breeds or pets riskier than others?

Since dogs tend to be the main concern for insurers, sadly it is true that they act discriminatory towards some breeds than others. Usually this isn’t because they are more viscous or likely to attack, but their size or strength means the wounds they are capable of inflicting are more severe. For an insurer the greater the wound, the more expensive the hospital bills will be if someone is injured, therefore they will charge customers more to insure them.

However, it isn’t always the larger breeds who are the ones to watch out for. According to a study from the Applied Animal Behaviour Science journal, large dogs aren’t any more likely to bite than small ones. Siberian Huskies, Greyhounds, Pit Bulls and even Rottweilers were all marked as fairly calm dogs. It was the little guys-Dachshunds and Chihuahuas-who came in at the top of the aggression chart.

If you have a pet that your insurer deems high risk, you may be required to take out higher liability coverage, or even be denied insurance completely.

What about exotic pets?

Chances are, if you just brought home a guinea pig or a rabbit, your insurer isn’t going to be too fussed. On the other hand, if you decide to introduce a more extoic animal, such as a tarantula, snake or exotic bird, your insurer may have a bit of an issue. Since many of these animals are classed as wild animals, they can be harder to train or control, and your insurer might see this as a worry. Many home insurers won’t provide coverage for them within your policy, and will instead recommend you look into taking out a specialist policy just for your pet.

 

Every insurer is different, so be sure to get in touch with your provider and see what they recommend. If you aren’t happy with the coverage on offer from your current home insurance provider, search the market and compare the different plans available.

 

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